How to Live a Healthier Lifestyle | 5 Easy Ways to Be Healthy This Year

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Getting healthy is a long-term process and a forever journey, but there are simple steps we can take to be healthier this year. Learn 5 easy ways to be healthier this year today on The Peculiar Treasure.

Living a healthy lifestyle is something that I have failed at for most of my life. While I was in middle and high school, I was at least in shape because I played sports, but I don't know that I was ever actually healthy.

I attribute this lack of health to the fact that I didn't drink enough water, I ate way too many calories, and I ate a lot of fried and greasy foods. Because #southerngirl 😂

But after I gained a bunch of weight in college for a variety of reasons (not exercising, depression, adjusting to college classes, and a medication that caused weight gain), I started realizing that health needed to be a priority. I have always had a big appetite and an appreciation for good food. But I also stress eat and eat when I am bored.

Over the last few years, I've attempted to make small changes that will last a life time. I drink more water, eat more veggies, and really value a nice, long walk. I still have a long way to go, but I do have a good idea of what has helped me along the way so far. And that's what I want to share with you today. So here are my 5 simple and easy tips for being healthier this year.


1.) Drink More Water

It seems to me like a lot of people struggle to drink water. Whether this is because of the bland taste of water, or because of an addiction to things other than water (like soda, tea, or coffee), many people I know do not consume nearly enough water each day.

When I am not properly hydrated, I get a headache. I also can tend to feel hungry, causing me to eat unnecessarily. But when I am hydrated, I feel better. I am less likely to get a headache, and less likely to eat when I am not hungry.

Staying hydrated is also important in keeping me performing well during exercise. Being dehydrated and trying to work out is a no-win game and something I try to avoid.

It is recommended that everyone drink at least 64 ounces of water everyday. However, it seems that staying hydrated is more individualized than I learned as a kid. I recently read an article in Good Housekeeping stating that in order to determine how much water we should be drinking, we should use a simple math equation based on our weight and age.

The point though, is just to get more water into your daily routine. If you are currently drinking under 64 ounces of water each day, then just try to up your intake slowly until you hit 64 ounces. If you are already drinking that, you may want to consider calculating your specific water amount recommendation and slowly try to build up to that.

2.) Exercise | Just Get Moving

We all know that if we want to be healthy, we need to be exercising. Exercise isn't just for people who are trying to lose weight. It is also necessary for maintaining your health and getting increasingly healthier.

When I played basketball in high school, I got plenty of exercise, so even though I was eating way too much (which I don't recommend), I was still thin, in shape, and moderately healthy. But I never really connected how important exercise actually was for my health. I did it because I loved basketball, not to lose weight or get healthy. However, the end result was still the same - I was healthier because I was excising, and as soon as I went to college and stopped exercising, not only did my weight change for the worst, but so did my overall health.

My depression and anxiety was worse. My weight skyrocketed. And I was even more tired than usual. Now, granted, there were quite a few factors that attributed to these things (some much more serious than just not exercising), but I know that exercise would have at least helped to some extent. Had I taken better care of my body, I probably could have avoided some of the physical and mental turmoil I went through in college.

The short of it: exercise is important. Do your body and your mind a favor and get active. 

3.) Choose Exercise That is Fun | Exercise Should Be Enjoyable

For years I thought that in order to be healthy and get in shape I had to be miserable. I thought that exercise as an adult would always be miserable if I actually wanted to accomplish anything. Thankfully, this mindset eventually changed.

Earlier this year, I began losing weight simply by going for walks three days a week. I started by walking around a half mile. At the time, that distance was tough. But I decided that a little bit was better than nothing.

Within a couple of months, I was averaging between 1 and 1.5 miles per day, 3 days per week. Again, that wasn't a groundbreaking distance, but I had more than doubled the distance I started with.

I continued competing with myself in the coming months, which was really helpful to me. I am a competitive person, so making my exercise a competition made it more fun. I wanted to walk, and I also knew that if I didn't walk, I wouldn't "beat" my stats from the previous week. Doing it this way made me desire exercise more than I dreaded it, which I believe is super important.

So basically, just make your exercise fun. If you choose something you hate, you are not going to stick with it. So be kind to yourself and choose an exercise that you actually want to do.

My Top 5 Favorite Exercises
  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Playing Basketball (Shooting)
  • Disc Golf
  • Bike Riding
None of those exercises have to be done at any particular intensity. Just moving and getting your heart-rate up is going to make a difference. And if you don't like any of those activities, then find what you do like so that you can stick with an exercise routine.

4.) Find What Foods Energizes You | Health is Personal

We are all unique individuals, yet it seems like many diets out there are created as one-size-fits-all. But that's not how humans function. We are not all the same and foods that energize me may not energize you. A diet that makes you feel amazing may make me have a stomach ache or make me feel sluggish. So instead of just assuming that Keto, or Paleo, or Atkins, or Beachbody Shakes are right for you just because they were right for your friend, take the time to "research" your own eating habits and how they make you feel.

Eggs, for example, are recommended for breakfast in many different diets. However, I have recently developed a mild intolerance to eggs (along with bananas and avocados), so pushing myself to eat eggs just because a popular diet recommends them would be really stupid on my part. Likewise, when I eat meat, I feel great (so long as it's prepared in a healthy way), but other people thrive on a meat-free diet. That's fine. We are not one-size-fits-all when it comes to exercise, clothing, or much of anything else for that matter, so why would we try to fit our food-choices into a pre-made mold? 

5.) Moderation Does Matter

I know some people who feel like they have to cut all "bad things" out of their diet cold-turkey in order to start a healthy lifestyle (I'm looking at you, hubby 😉), and if that's really what you need to do, then go for it. But, I personally believe that learning how to enjoy things in moderation is what's going to last long-term.

The learning part is hard (really hard), but I want my healthier choices to last a life-time, and I know myself well enough to know that if I just cut a bunch of stuff out, I will not stick with it.

If you are a person that has trouble with disciplining yourself (like me), I totally understand the anxiety that comes with attempting moderation. However, we have to remember that the goal is a lifestyle change - not a temporary diet.

Friends, I hope you have found these 5 easy tips for a healthier lifestyle helpful. As peculiar treasures that belong to God, we need to be making our health a priority. Honoring God with our bodies matters. If we are healthy, we are more able to live out the full potential God has for us. But if we are sluggish, over-weight, or sick in a way that is easily preventable with diet and exercise, we are not going to be able to serve to our full-capacity.

Let's not allow ourselves to be dictated by our laziness, desire for comfort, or obsession with food this year. Let's take care of ourselves in a way that glorifies God and allows us to live as the peculiar treasures He intends for us to be.



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